When your child nears the pre-teen years, it can seem like your sweet-smelling baby turns into a stinky, sweaty tween overnight, without warning. Kids as young as age 8 can start experiencing the changes in hormones associated with puberty. These hormone changes cause an increase in sweat production by the sweat glands. When bacteria on the skin comes in contact with the sweat, it uses the oils in the sweat for food and the smell associated with body odor is the end results of this process.
Once your child reaches puberty, he should shower daily with soap and shampoo. A brightly colored nylon bath scrubber and body wash may make bath time less of a chore than trying to lather up with a bar of soap. Remind your child to clean the areas under the arms and the groin well since that is where the sweat glands that cause body odor are located. Have your child put on clean, fresh smelling clothes after showering. If your tween needs to take additional measures for body odor control, he could use antiperspirant and deodorant. Many health food stores sell antiperspirants and deodorants based on natural ingredients, like baking soda.
During this time of transition for your tween, he may still be used to occasionally skipping a bath, and in addition, may not even realize he smells. It is a good idea to explain the changes that come with puberty to your child, including the extra steps he needs to take each day to care for his body. When your child smells, gently remind him to perform his daily hygiene tasks but cast them in a positive light by saying something like, ‘Hey this means you are growing up!’ Sometimes tweens get so absorbed in what they are doing that they don’t want to stop to take care of boring hygiene tasks. However, don’t resort to nagging if he does not respond. Nagging will only get you tuned out. Treat the hygiene tasks like any other chore and enact appropriate consequences, like loss of computer time, when he refuses to complete them.